Surprisingly, there are a variety of resources available to those who actively search for information on Ozymandias. PHO posts with middling quality phone footage of his exploits and power usage, connected to in-depth speculative posts on what he should be classified as. One-on-One interviews that have been confirmed accurate by the cape himself, but whose interviewer has yet to be identified have been published and disseminated across the internet. News footage. Local magazine coverage. Even a radio broadcast or two.
No matter the source or lens looked through, it all comes up the same: An independent (aside from working with whatever corporation is willing to sponsor him) hero of such peculiar, perfect versatility, it awes and aggravates in similar measure. Strength to match titans, and aegis-like invulnerability. Soaring through the skies, and appearing in places he simply should not be able to. Walking through walls, and being in two places at once. He produces fire, lightning, and forces unseen; commands the weak willed with but a stern word.
The villain cries out, "This is bullshit!" as they try and figure out a counter.
The hero cries out, "This is unfair!" as they lose airtime and limelight, while doing thrice the work.
The rogue cries out, "This isn't very cash money!" as corporations turn their eyes to sponsoring him.
The PRT recruiter cries out, "Answer the phone!" as they are ignored for the umpteenth time.
Despite all of this, Ozymandias has not operated frequently, or out of his initial stomping ground of NYC and more recent appearances in Ashton. A dangerous mystery wrapped in blue and gold.
Nothing Below Is Public Information
Driven, focused, and confident in his ability, Ozymandias is a goal-oriented man with a competitive streak. That's where the positives end. Paranoia among other capes, secretiveness, and a deep-seated fear of potential impotence and powerlessness clutch at his heart and mind with icy claws. Superiority complex.
Equipment and Resources
- Cell Phone
- Disguised Stun Gun
- First-Aid Kit
- High Performance Cut-Resistant Tights
- Flame-Retardant Break-Away Cloak w/ Concealed Pack
Wealth Level: 6
- Home Owner
- Perfectly Serviceable Chrysler 300C Sedan
- Corporate Contacts
- Advertising Consultant, as in an actual job wow
Skills and Specializations
- "Cape Geek" Levels of knowledge pertaining to Parahumans
- Slight of Hand & Misdirection
- Social Engineering & Optics Guru
Artificial Trigger (Trump/Stranger)
Perception is reality.
Ozymandias is... powerless. He normally has nothing to draw upon at his whim; his shard acts as a kind of signal receiver that only provides based on incoming data. If someone truly believes he has a power, the faintest spark of that ability will manifest and store for later use. When enough sparks light a fire, and enough fuel is fed into it to keep it raging, he can use that perceived power for a time as if it were his own. This buildup is exponentially faster if those who believe happen to be parahumans themselves. What power is cultivated shifts and molds to the combined perceptions of all those who have fed into it, only becoming rigid and true once Ozymandias grips the reigns and uses it in earnest, burning off the cultivated "charge" until it's gone.
The range of this effect is limitless. A child in India with internet access and a mind to peruse a page on PHO about Ozymandias, who takes what is read at face value, is enough to add a drop in the bucket. A parahuman who does the same will add a liter. The collection is not based on distance as much as bold belief. Seeing is believing for some, if not most, while having the information lined out in a dry collection of documents might impress others more. Nothing is permanent, and while a building or stored power decays slowly, that which is being used decays at such speed and intensity, the product of a few weeks of collection can be drained within a few minutes.
Ozymandias has access to every building or stored power at once, and may pluck one, and only one, for use at any given time. While he may only use one at a time, he can switch on the fly. He has no real way of knowing exactly what power he will bring to bear until he unleashes it for the first time, at which point its parameters lock and it becomes a stored power. He does get a vague sense of what he has at his disposal, and how long he has until it will wane, however. Imagine sensing "Strength and Flight", that turns out to be "Changer power that allows formation of piston limbs, and the Mover ability to fall in whatever direction he points."
A building power stops building once it has been solidified and Stored. It will no longer gather the fuel the others do.
Over years of experimenting with his power, and being able to disseminate the information, he has grown to favor a few staple abilities....
Flight: A power that Ozymandias has been able to keep about as constant as he can possibly manage. It's simple, useful, and without a doubt the classiest way to travel. The Mover power typically takes the form of a slow-building unassisted hover that climbs from a low ball of 5 - 10 mph, and capping out at a full on flight speed of 160 – 275 mph, the latter on a good day with lots of time to build. The length of time necessary to build that sort of speed makes that high untenable in a combat situation. Typically he will generate no extra protections outside of the requisite minor breaker/thinker abilities that make flight not a painful and nauseating experience. He will have great control at some times, while at others he will struggle with the simple act of turning.
Damage Negation/Resistance: Taking damage without flinching takes many forms, and unfortunately that is represented here. Nowhere near as constant as his manifestation of flight, he can manifest anything from thick, extra layers of fat and lard that slough off when assaulted, revealing undamaged skin beneath, or a sleek, togglable personal force field that has the unfortunate side effect of blinding him when activated. This can take many forms, usually manifesting as a Brute, Breaker, Shaker, or Changer power. True invulnerability is so difficult to achieve due to the way the shard interprets collective perception, it may as well be impossible.
Slapdash Blaster: Using a combination of slight of hand to fool an opponent (thus generating a brief charge) and spending what's in his cultivated backlog, Ozymandias often uses one-offs of minor Blaster ability. These aren't very impressive, but they aren't predictable either. Less effective than a cluster cape whose least powerful ability is their blaster one. Blinding beams of light, sunburning orb-like projectiles, projectile blood spurts that are mildly sticky and weigh down a target... powers like that can be slapped together and dished out with some clever maneuvering.
Limitations & Clarifications
- Ozymandias cannot Trump up a Trump power. It's an inherent limitation he discovered when trying to game the system.
- Because of the nature of Tinker tech, and how much maintenance it requires, Ozymandias cannot sustain anything he creates, as the maintenance, building, and gathering of resources would take as much time as he spends cultivating his other abilities. It's a waste. He's written off trying it.
- Similarly, Master and Stranger powers are rendered much less useful due to their lack of longevity.
- His powers have their limits. Aside from his two staple Brute and Mover powers, he'd be hard pressed to sustain anything else for more than a few seconds unless he spent a lot of time and money cultivating one. The irony of having to earn paid-for powers is not lost on him.
- The moment his ability to use a power has true, visual doubt cast upon it, the rate at which it burns out is hastened to the point of it disappearing in moments. An example would be him switching from a kind of durability to flight, and being struck in that moment. He's visibly harmed and it's been noticed, and even if he switches back, the power will fade in seconds, rendering it useless and forcing him to spend time re-cultivating it later.
Thinkers can die in a fire get away go AWAY.
The shard operates by taking others' perceptions of the host when relating to powers and reacts based on what those perceptions are. The powers aren't random, so much as plucked from an absurdly large pool that gets narrowed by parameters/themes of a collective perception, translated by shard-logic.
A very specific example would be... the Blaster power to shoot fireballs out of the hands. It would require the circulation of the idea of being a threat at a distance, a focus on the hands, with anger and rage being attributed to Ozymandias and not at him, which would result in a wildly different ability. The idea would need to be consistent in most variables across a large group of people, with the perceptions of capes having more sway, in order for it to come out with perfect consistency.
For this reason it's effectively impossible for Ozymandias to predict his power, but he can get a sense of what he has at his disposal at any given time. Just not the specifics, because they aren't specific until brought to bear. The shard is a kind of servile one, meant to assist in twisted alien space slug "empathy" and automated fulfillment of perceived purpose.
To quantify all of this and make things a little less vague for the purposes of play, 1dX (X being anything from 1-7 corresponding with E through AA, Ozymandias' current notoriety level) is rolled at the start of any confrontation where powers are going to be in use, determining how many one-shot utility abilities are available during the RP. Rolled up powers last for that post alone. 1d6 is rolled per use, to determine how pertinent to the exact situation they are being used during. Staples are always available unless things drag on for too long.
Success comes in three forms. Knowledge, Wealth, and Power. That final prong in the trifecta isn't as easy to procure for the common man as it once was. The definition changed long ago. You could be the wealthiest, most intelligent person on the planet, and where personality and slick maneuvering could make you the most powerful man on the planet in the past, now it takes a one in a million chance and a very bad day. A lottery attached to a whole lot of baggage. Rami Duvall, an already well-to-do bachelor who had recently come into an inheritence that gave him money to invest or burn, found his lot in life lacking.
He watched the men and women on the television who could futuristic weaponry, fly, and render a man who has trained all his life in the art of combat useless by comparison. Living guns. Power without trying. Not really trying.
Rami was jealous. Always had been. Jealousy and anger aren't too far from one another, and anger fuels strange decisions, like prowling the net for a year looking for any legitimate lead in finding a way to gain powers. The moment he'd come into more money than he knew what to do with outside of invest, and reunited with an old flame because of it, he was approached. Offered a deal he took immediately, despite the heavy cost. A promise of power, true power, provided he promise three favors for the future, as well as distance himself from that old flame.
An old flame who happened to be a woman. Rami's is a personality that needs grounding from time to time. Paranoia and a need to be superior can build into erratic, self destructive behavior. That grounding force came in the form of this woman, who shared his destructive tendencies, fed into them, but knew how to manipulate him masterfully enough to keep him from going over the brink. Unhealthy, but stable.
He traded this stability for... nothing. He was told it was a success then sent on his way.
It took him months of stewing anger and depression, and a mental block from trying to form a connection back to this woman again, to discover he hadn't wasted his time. It took him years to actually figure out what his power truly was. It took him months to cultivate and build, and disseminate the information required in order to actually use it. A few outings in NYC proved he was capable of using the power effectively. The nature of the power meant he couldn't sign on with any organization that required in-depth information on him, so he had to sell out to the very corporations he helped sell themselves. At least he knew the game.
NYC was too large, too oversaturated with capes, and too close to her. He turned his attention to Ashton, a place he'd been eyeing for some time. A hotbed of cape activity and a place to make a name. He'd build upon himself in more ways than one.